Union Army Uniforms and Insignia of the Civil War

Uniform of a New York Militia Officer 1861

Sword Belt Hook In Use

Sword Belt Hook In Use
Unidentified Officer 69th New York Militia

A field offcier (major or lieutenant colonel) of the 69th New York Militia was photographed at Fort Corcoran, Virginia in 1861. The photograph illustrates the use of the hook on the sword belt. The upper ring of the scabbard is hooked on the hook and the shorter hanger of the sword belt is free. The longer hanger is still attached to the bottom ring of the scabbard. He is wearing an unusual insignia on his forage cap, perhaps a flaming shell superimposed over crossed cannons. His uniform departs from regulation in that he is wearing a gold brocade cartridge box belt, known as a baldric, over his left shoulder similar to the one pictured on page 47 of the Schuyler, Hartley and Graham catalog. This was worn by many militia field and staff officers as well as drum majors. Despite being a field offcier his belt appears to be that reserved for general officers by the regulations, but may have matched the baldric better than a regulation belt. The sword is an 1850 model staff and field officers' sword, which appears to have that too familiar "ding" four-fifths of the way down the scabbard. The photograph well illustrates the liberties taken by militia officers.

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